Resolving conflicts in fire management using decision theory: asset-protection versus biodiversity conservation

Don Driscoll, David Lindenmayer, Andrew Bennett, Michael Bode, Ross A. Bradstock, Geoffrey Cary, Michael F. Clarke, Nick Dexter, Rod Fensham, Gordon Friend, A Malcom Gill, Stewart James, Geoffrey Kay, David A. Keith, Chris MacGregor, Hugh P Possingham, Jeremy Russell-Smith, David Salt, James E.M. Watson, Richard J WilliamsAlan York

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Agencies charged with nature conservation and protecting built-assets from fire face a policy dilemma because management that protects assets can have adverse impacts on biodiversity. Although conservation is often a policy goal, protecting built-assets usually takes precedence in fire management implementation. To make decisions that can better achieve both objectives, existing trade-offs must first be recognized, and then policies implemented to manage multiple objectives explicitly. We briefly review fire management actions that can conflict with biodiversity conservation. Through this review, we find that common management practices might not appreciably reduce the threat to built-assets but could have a large negative impact on biodiversity. We develop a framework based on decision theory that could be applied to minimize these conflicts. Critical to this approach is (1) the identification of the full range of management options and (2) obtaining data for evaluating the effectiveness of those options for achieving asset protection and conservation goals. This information can be used to compare explicitly the effectiveness of different management choices for conserving species and for protecting assets, given budget constraints. The challenge now is to gather data to quantify these trade-offs so that fire policy and practices can be better aligned with multiple objectives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-223
    JournalConservation Letters
    Volume3
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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